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Sharp Adds Soundbars, AirPlay Microsystems


Sharp is expanding its selection of 1-inchtall
adjustable-width soundbars and launching its first
microsystems with Apple AirPlay, Wi-Fi Direct to stream
music from DLNA-equipped mobile devices, and iPadcompatible
USB ports.

In all, Sharp is launching three 1-inch-tall soundbars
and five microsystems. All of the microsystems feature an
iPad-compatible USB port, and two offer AirPlay. The two
AirPlay models also feature DLNA certification and Wi-Fi
Direct to stream music wirelessly from non-Apple smartphones
and tablets at a longer range than stereo Bluetooth.

Sharp is carrying over its iPod/iPhone-docking mini
systems, a current 1-inch soundbar, and the current HTSB600
3.1-channel soundbar, which at an everyday $299
features Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1-channel decoders, Dolby
Virtual Speaker to deliver virtual surround sound, three
HDMI 1.4a inputs, HDMI 1.4a output with audio return
channel, wired subwoofer and AM/FM.

All of Sharp’s new 1-inch soundbars, like the carryover
$299-everyday HT-SL70, come with replaceable inserts
that expand or reduce soundbar width to match differentsize
TVs. The inserts can also be removed to turn the horizontal
soundbar into two separate left-right vertical speakers
sitting atop their own stands, said senior marketing
manager Bob Pleyer.

The soundbars were designed to be compact in height
so they don’t block a TV’s IR receiver or the IR blaster that
a 3S TV uses to control active-shutter 3D glasses, Pleyer

The carryover HT-SL70 comes with two inserts, one to
size the soundbar for 46-inch TVs, and the other to size
the bar for 52-inch TVs. It features wired subwoofer, automatic
signal-sensing turn-on, HDMI 1.4a input, HDMI
1.4a output with audio return channel, and analog mini
input. A TV’s remote would be used to control soundbar
volume via the TV’s variable audio output. The TV could
be used for all video switching, though a cable box or a
Blu-ray player could also be connected to the soundbar
to pass through video to the connected TV. It’s rated at
2×50 watts plus 1×100 watts and doesn’t incorporate virtual
surround processing.

The new HT-SL75, targeted to retail for an everyday
$299, offers the same features but comes with inserts for
60- and 70-inch TVs.

The new HT-SL77 soundbar comes with four inserts to
size the bar for 46-, 52-, 60- and 70-inch TVs. It also adds
wireless subwoofer but otherwise offers the same power
and connectivity as the SL75. It’s targeted to retail for an
everyday $349 when it ships, likely in February.

Another 1-inch soundbar, the HT-SL72, also comes with
wireless subwoofer but is packaged with inserts only for
60- and 70-inch TVs. It lacks HDMI input and output and
connects to a TV via analog mini input and RCA adapter.
It’s also rated at 2×50 watts plus 1×100.

None of the 1-inch-tall soundbars features built-in Dolby
Digital/DTS decoding dock or 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock.

Thirty-pin iPod/iPhone docks, however, are standard
in five new microsystems, which are also Sharp’s first audio products with Apple-certified iPad-compatible
MicroUSB port on their back panel to stream an iPad’s
music and quickly charge an iPad via 5-volt, 2.1-ampere
charging circuit. The microsystems also come
with a separate stand to hold an iPad in landscape
or portrait mode. All feature iPod/iPhone dock on top.

Two of the new microsystems are the company’s
first one-piece vertical–oriented models. They feature
an AM/FM, vertical CD mechanism that hides a
spinning CD behind motorized metallic sliding doors,
MP3/WMA decoders, and 2×25-watt amp. The vertical
systems are the DK-KP80P at an everyday $149
and the DK-KP95P, which adds AirPlay and, via DLNA
certification and Wi-Fi Direct, ability to push music
from DLNA-certified smartphones and tablets other
than Apple models. It’s targeted to homes lacking Wi-
Fi, including second homes and motor homes. It ships
in the spring at a price to be announced.

Three other microsystems with an iPad-compatible
USB port are three-piece executive-style systems, all
with single-CD mechanism, AM/FM, MP3/WMA playback,
iPod/iPhone dock on top, 2×50-watt amp, twoway
speakers with dome tweeter, subwoofer pre-out
and composite-video output.

The three-piece systems start with the XL-HF201P,
targeted to retail for an everyday $199 and targeted to
ship in February.

The step-up XL-HF301P, at an expected $249, adds
improved drivers and is targeted to ship in March. The
XL-HF401P adds AirPlay, DLNA and Wi-Fi Direct. It
ships in the spring.